Warm up on a cold day with the best homemade hot chocolate recipe around. This version is extra decadent, with plenty of rich cocoa powder, melted chocolate and gooey marshmallows. So much better than the store-bought version!
There’s something about a cup of hot chocolate that just feels so comforting, especially during the winter months.
And while instant packets can do the trick in a pinch, making it from scratch is so much better.
Especially when you combine cocoa powder and real chocolate with toasted marshmallows. It truly is the best hot cocoa recipe I’ve ever tried!
Of course, you can always customize it however you like with all sorts of fun toppings.
Either way, if you’re looking for a delicious and decadent hot beverage, you’ll want to try this recipe for homemade hot chocolate with marshmallows.
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This recipe makes about 4 cups of hot chocolate.
Here is your shopping list:
- dairy – 4 cups whole milk. Whole milk makes a creamier hot chocolate than using lighter milk will.
- sugar – ¼ cup granulated sugar
- chocolate – ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli with 60% cacao). Using both cocoa powder and chocolate creates the most delicious, chocolate flavor.
- flavoring – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Don’t leave this out. It’s amazing how much better vanilla makes hot chocolate taste.
- marshmallows – 1½ cups of mini marshmallows. The small-sized ones fit much better in a cup and will melt faster.
- For fewer calories, you can use 2% milk, skim milk, or even water. But the hot cocoa will be more watery.
- If you don’t have chocolate on hand, you can make this recipe with just cocoa powder. To do this, increase the granulated sugar to ½ cup and the cocoa powder to ½ cup.
How to make hot chocolate
If you are using chocolate squares, chop them into small pieces.
Make the hot cocoa
Add milk, sugar, and cocoa powder to a saucepan.
Cook over low/medium heat, whisking frequently until warm (approximately 5 minutes). Don’t let it come to a boil or the milk will burn.
Add chopped chocolate and whisk continuously until the chocolate melts.
Take the hot chocolate off the heat.
Then whisk in the vanilla extract. Adding it at the end like this will prevent the vanilla flavor for evaporating.
Toast the mini marshmallows
While toasting marshmallows isn’t absolutely necessary, it softens them up which makes them melt more into the hot chocolate.
A butane kitchen torch (like this one* from Amazon) is the fastest and easiest way to toast marshmallows. Just run the flame over the top of them and they’re done.
However, if you don’t have one, you can also toast them in the broiler.
Spread the marshmallows on a baking sheet and set under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes until golden brown on top. Keep a close eye on them because they will toast quickly and burn easily if not taken out in time.
To serve, pour the hot cocoa into mugs.
Then top with toasted mini marshmallows and whatever other toppings you prefer.
I like to put a little whipped cream on top of the hot chocolate before piling on the marshmallows.
Here are some other ideas of what toppings to serve with your hot chocolate:
- mini marshmallows
- whipped cream
- peppermint sticks or candy canes
- chocolate chips – milk chocolate and white chocolate
- caramel bits
- chocolate spoons or sticks
- wafer cookies
- cinnamon sticks
Putting the toppings on a hot chocolate charcuterie board is a fun way to serve them.
What to eat with hot chocolate
- Salty pretzels and nuts – Anything salty is a good combination with the sweet chocolate.
- Cheese and cracker board – There’s a reason why chocolate and cheese are often served side by side on cheese boards. They go really well together.
- Fruit charcuterie board – Fruit is another great selection for pairing with hot cocoa.
- Tamari almonds – Another tasty salty option.
- White almond bark – The white chocolate adds even more creaminess.
Best Homemade Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows
- 1 Sauce pan
- 1 Whisk
- 1 Kitchen butane torch optional
- 4 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder unsweetened
- 4 oz chocolate chopped or chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups mini marshmallows
- Add milk, sugar and cocoa powder to a sauce pan.
- Cook over low/medium heat, whisking frequently until warm (approximately 5 minutes).
- Add chopped chocolate and whisk continuously until the chocolate melts.
- Remove from the heat.
- Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Add hot cocoa to your mug and top with toasted mini marshmallows.
Toasted Mini Marshmallows
- The easiest way to toast marshmallows is to quickly pass the flame of a kitchen butane torch over them.
- However, you can also spread them out on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler for a minute or two until they are golden on top. Watch them carefully and don't leave them in too long because they will burn quickly.
- You can substitute 2% milk, skim milk, or even water for the whole milk, but the hot cocoa won’t be as creamy.
- This recipe can be made without the chocolate. In that case, eliminate the chocolate, increase the sugar to ½ cup and the cocoa powder to ½ cup.
- Make sure the milk does not get hot enough to boil since it burns easily.
- If you don’t feel like putting in the extra effort to toast the marshmallows, untoasted ones will also work.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Have comments or questions about our homemade hot chocolate recipe with marshmallows? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on November 8, 2022 but was updated with new content on December 17, 2023.